Plagiarism is using another's ideas, words, or language without giving credit to the original source.

Plagiarism can occur when..

  • You take ideas from a source without using proper citation

When quoting or paraphrasing an author's ideas on a subject, you must cite him/her to give credit where credit is due.

  • You paraphrase too closely to the original

Taking the language and wording of a source without significantly changing it into your own language and wording is considered plagiarism. Remember that paraphrased information still needs to be cited.

  • You submit someone else's work as your own

In other words, turning in your sister's old college paper as your own or sharing the answers on a homework assignment or test with a friend would be considered plagiarism.

Tips to Avoid Plagiarism

  • Take the time to do the work on your own. Researching and writing a paper takes time, so give yourself enough time to look up information and incorporate it into your paper using a formal citation style (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.)
  • Read the information, and then close the book. Paraphrasing information while looking directly at the source is dangerous. It's too easy to follow the sentence structure of the author. Substituting a word here and there does not constitute accurate paraphrasing and is considered plagiarism!
  • Take careful notes. Make sure you cite where you got your outside information from and who originally said what.
  • Never copy and paste outside sources directly into your paper! It is too easy to lose track of copied-and-pasted information from the Internet or to forget to place quotation marks around outside material. Don't lose track of what needs to be directly quoted OR forget to paraphrase a "copy-and-paste job." Even though sloppy research may cause inadvertent plagiarism, it is no excuse for lack of proper quoting, paraphrasing, and citing.